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Edmunds, Geoff

Geoff and Dave Edmunds started together in a small garage band called The Stompers in 1960. Prior to that, they had an act that played Boogie Woogie duets on the piano, performing concerts at local church halls and the like. They were 12 and 8 years old, respectively! One ‘gig’ when Geoff was 16 and Dave, 12, ended up getting them into some hot water. They were playing their brand of Boogie Woogie in a very rundown black blues club when police stormed through the door. At first, they were terrified that the police were searching for some dangerous criminals, but it turned out the cops were looking for Geoff and Dave! Mrs. Edmunds had followed through on her threat to call the police unless the boys were home by midnight. She had tracked them down and decided to teach the pair a lesson. Apparently it did not work, since they were right back at it the following weekend.

After The Stompers, Geoff and Dave graduated to a band called The Heartbeats, a much more sophisticated group, complete with uniforms a la The Beatles. Very cool and professional at the time. It was 1961 and The Heartbeats became a big attraction in their native Wales, opening for Gene Vincent; Eddie Cochran; Joe Brown and the ‘Bruvvers’ (‘Brothers’ for those of us lacking the Cockney accent); Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band; Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames; Sounds Incorporated (who went on to open for The Beatles at Shea Stadium); Tommy Scott and the Senators; Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders; Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas; and numerous other ‘60’s British bands. Tom Jones even sang with The Heartbeats on occasion between spells with his band.

After a New Year’s Eve show, Geoff decided to leave the band and get a “straight” job. The Heartbeats broke up shortly thereafter. Dave decided to pursue a musical career and entered his experimental phase. He formed one of the very early “power trios” called The Raiders. They developed a huge cult following as they experimented with versions of the classics – Katchaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” Bizet’s “Farandol,” etc. This was the period 1961-1966.

In 1967 Geoff emigrated to Canada and began work with Southam Newspapers Inc. in Hamilton, at the Hamilton Spectator. At the same time, Dave hit Number One on the British charts with “Sabre Dance” and his new band, Love Sculpture. A worldwide Number One followed: “I Hear You Knocking” marked the start of a successful solo career that continues today.

Geoff did some playing in Canada for the next few years–just guest spots with bands in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary as he moved to those cities. He became National Sales Manager for Yamaha in the early ‘70’s and returned to newspapers and publishing in 1974, with the Calgary Herald. In 1978 he started his own newspaper in Okotoks, Alberta, which was sold in 1982.

At this point, Geoff returned to music and signed a recording contract with Rocshire Records in Los Angeles; the first album, simply entitled Geoff Edmunds, did very well in Canada and earned a Juno Nomination in the “Most Promising Male Vocalist” category. Rocshire, however, turned out to be a sham; funded with stolen money, it quickly went under.

Undaunted, Geoff recorded a second album in Calgary, Los Angeles, Nashville and Memphis. Three tracks hit the Canadian country charts.

Geoff found considerable success on the business front forming a chain of retail stores specializing in the sale of batteries and electronic items. He opened 155 stores across North America, took the company public and then retired from it after five years. Geoff then formed another company, JCI Technologies Inc.

He is currently the President and CEO of this company, but has also renewed his playing career with local bands in Victoria. In March 1996, Geoff put together a benefit concert called “RockMatch” and called in favours from some top rock musicians to join him. The sold-out show was a huge success. Microsoft sponsored the event and demonstrated some new technology that permitted autographed colour pictures of the players in the band to be sent to fans all over the world.